My name is Mahlia Lindquist. The “H” is silent and rhymes with Maria. It’s also the name of President Obama’s daughter, though hers doesn’t have an H. Rumor has it that Mahlia is Hawaiian for Maria and means Calm Waters. I am the opposite of calm, though working on it.  I got the name (but not the spelling, which is a whole other story) when I was born for no other reason than my mom thought it was pretty. She heard it on a TV series called Hawaiian Eye. 

These are answers to FAQ when I meet someone new. Except the part about getting my name at birth, only people in Boulder have ever asked me that.

Boulder, Colorado, my home for 13 years, is where I first learned  that some people change their given name.  I grew up in Miami, attended college in Atlanta and law school in Washington, DC, spent several months is England, Australia and Spain, a year in Mexico, and have travelled extensively. No one in any of those places ever asked if I got my name when I was born. Just in Boulder. 

I met a yoga teacher there named Susan who changed her name to Shanti.  I was friends with a Nancy who became Kate, a Traci who went to Nell and a Stacy who wanted to be called Stella. While slightly unorthodox, it makes sense to me that people take charge of their names. Obviously, a yoga teacher might prefer the name Shanti, which means peace in Sanskrit, to Susan. I can also imagine a scenario where a Roberta identifies more with her inner Robert. 

More mysterious is going from a harmless, albeit not particularly interesting name, to one that is just as benign and ordinary.  No offense to all of the Nancys, Kates, Tracis, Nells, Stacys and Stellas of the world, because all of the names are perfectly lovely, but  they are also common.  Thinking about my friend Kate, formerly known as Nancy, I wonder what is wrong with Nancy and what’s so great about Kate? I’ve never asked her. Nor have I asked Stella and Nell  about their name changes. I’m sure they have their reasons, but it seems like a personal question, and I wouldn’t want to pry. 

But, I do wonder. I also wonder why I’ve never met a guy who has changed his name. Like thank-you notes, hostess gifts, cookies for the bake sale, and PMS, is a propensity to change names restricted to women?  What is it about Boulder that name changing is commonplace and not so much in other cities? Do the parents of name changers resent or feel sad when their kids reject their given names?

Because I tend to be fascinated by the trivial, it's I tend to write about. Besides, plenty of people out there already investigate, debate, and report on global warming, world hunger,  the Mid-East conflict, and Kim Kardashian. In the interest of modeling substantial and admirable qualities for my two daughters, I would prefer to be the type who thinks and writes about literature, philosophy or topics worthy of  Mother Jones magazines. But as anyone who has tried knows, changing thoughts takes a mature minded, focused, maybe even enlightened sort of person. As much as I strive, I most definitely am not there (yet.)  

Until I am, check back for further musings and observations on minor curiosities. It is my modest hope that by sharing  the small miracles, mysteries and humor of the everyday, I might help create a little more space, love and light for bigger things to happen. Or at the very least, perhaps provide a distraction from news of Kim Kardashian.




There is some comfort in imagining ourselves as unique souls with singular perspectives. So, if there’s anything you read here that makes you laugh, cry or see something in a fresh way, it would make my day to hear about it. Of course, there is also something to be said for imagining the existence of kindred souls with the same sense of humor, sense of outrage, and sense of curiosity. So, I would also get a warm, fuzzy feeling upon hearing from anyone who gets a “me too” flash after reading one of my posts.  If you are bored, disgusted, outraged or otherwise offended by anything I have to say, I apologize in advance and definitely do not have a burning desire to know.


  1. This is the life of a single mother of two. Trying to cope in this crazy world with a sense of humor. I love it!!!

    1. I enjoyed this thoroughly...
      And the name is certainly Hawaiian...with a spelling twist....June

    2. I just heard Marc Gafni say this yesterday: You are an irreducibly unique expression of the love-intelligence and the love-beauty that is itself the initiating and animating energy/eros of all that is, that lives in you, as you and through you, that never was, is, or will be ever again other than through you.

      I celebrate you, your unique soul and your singular perspective! Thank you for bringing it to our evolving world.

  2. You made me laugh Ma-hlia! You made me want to shout, Dawn! Congratulations on your new blog. I'll look forward to future posts. - Anne